noun, often attributive
\ ˈtab How to pronounce tab (audio) \

Definition of tab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a short projecting device: such as
(1) : a small flap or loop by which something may be grasped or pulled
(2) : a projection from a card used as an aid in filing
b : a small insert, addition, or remnant
c : appendage, extension especially : one of a series of small pendants forming a decorative border or edge of a garment
d : a small auxiliary airfoil hinged to a control surface (such as a trailing edge) to help stabilize an airplane in flight — see airplane illustration
2 [partly short for table entry 1; partly from sense 1]
a : close surveillance : watch keep tabs on trends
b : a creditor's statement : bill, check
c : cost the tab for the new program
3 [short for tabulator] : a key on a keyboard that indents text by a preset amount
4 [by shortening]
a : tablet


tabbed; tabbing

Definition of tab (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish or ornament with tabs
2 : to single out : designate

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Examples of tab in a Sentence

Noun Insert the tab into this slot to close the box. a notebook with index tabs The tab on the zipper is broken. He ran up a $200 bar tab. He put the drinks on his tab. Verb After you type your name in the first box, you can move to the next box by tabbing.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Under the dashboard’s revenue tab, users can find information on city income from state and local taxes through graphs and charts. Erin Hegarty,, "Financial dashboard lets Naperville residents see how the pandemic’s affecting the city budget," 10 Sep. 2020 The agreement would allow for the health care worker to stay at a hotel, with the federal government picking up the tab. J.d. Davidson, Washington Examiner, "DeWine: No FEMA camps in Ohio for COVID-19," 9 Sep. 2020 Go to the My Watch tab and tap on the Wallet & Apple Pay option. David Nield, Popular Science, "Paying with your phone is safe and convenient. Here’s how to start.," 2 Sep. 2020 Preserving trees is rewarded with carbon-offset credits, a climate-change currency that companies can purchase and apply toward a tiny portion of their tab. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Preserving Trees Becomes Big Business, Driven by Emissions Rules," 23 Aug. 2020 Other popular browsers such as Safari and Firefox also allow some types of tab groupings through separate browser extensions. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, "Google rolls out updates to Chrome tabs — and makes them 10% faster," 25 Aug. 2020 Netflix is also promising to pick up the tab for all to-go orders from the Zigzag Mountain Café, throughout the day on Wednesday. oregonlive, "Zigzag residents, Netflix thinks your town name is funny, so they’re offering free goodies," 11 Aug. 2020 But the company maintains that no account has the right to the additional promotion that comes with being on the Discover tab. Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Snap's decision could have implications for Trump's young voter outreach," 3 June 2020 The opening tab, CPU, shows the stress that different programs are putting on the brains of your Mac. David Nield, Popular Science, "Fixing your computer is easier if you know which numbers to look at," 30 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Order ahead of time via the grocery boxes tab on the website for pick-up or delivery on Friday, May 8, or Saturday, May 9. Linnea Covington, The Know, "18 places that will help you celebrate mom on Mother’s Day," 5 May 2020 Doug Tibbs has been tabbed to be Chandler's Ford's head brewer. Matt Wake |, al, "New brewery, tacos, coffee shop opening in downtown Huntsville," 4 June 2020 He is tabbed by Max Preps as a Division II college recruit. Shelby Dermer,, "Wyoming's Mitchell, Talawanda's Detherage named overlooked 2021 football recruits," 24 Apr. 2020 Sandy Bell, executive associate athletic director, has been tabbed to take on oversight of the program and will be in charge of the search for a new coaching staff. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "What you need to know about Kentucky's cheerleading hazing investigation," 20 May 2020 UConn sophomore Olivia Nelson-Ododa is one of 20 candidates tabbed to the 2020 Lisa Leslie Award watch list, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Friday. Alexa Philippou,, "Olivia Nelson-Ododa named to 2020 Lisa Leslie Award watch list for top center," 25 Oct. 2019 Cumberland was named the preseason player of the year, and Memphis freshman center/forward James Wiseman was tabbed rookie of the year. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "UH basketball a co-favorite to repeat as AAC champs," 14 Oct. 2019 Pauling, tabbed as a three-star recruit from Homewood-Flossmoor in Illinois, announced his decision to join the Bearcats on Twitter. Shelby Dermer,, "UC football lands commitment from 3-star wide receiver Will Pauling," 23 Apr. 2020 The Beavers are in good shape with six games remaining, as the NCAA tabbed OSU as a 3-seed, and No. oregonlive, "Pac-12 tournament, NCAA seeding in danger as Oregon State women’s basketball face rare back-to-back Pac-12 road trips," 13 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tab.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tab


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tab


origin unknown

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Learn More about tab

Statistics for tab

Last Updated

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for tab


How to pronounce tab (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small, flat piece on a box, envelope, etc., that can be put into a hole in order to hold two parts together
: a small, flat piece that sticks out from the edge of something (such as a folder) and allows you to identify and find it easily
US : a small piece of metal, plastic, etc., that is pulled in order to open or close something



English Language Learners Definition of tab (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a small, identifying label (called a tab) on something
US, informal : to say that (someone or something) will do something or have a particular role or purpose
: to hit the tab key on a computer or typewriter


\ ˈtab How to pronounce tab (audio) \

Kids Definition of tab

1 : a short flap or tag attached to something for filing, pulling, or hanging
2 : a careful watch Let's keep tabs on the weather.


\ ˈtab How to pronounce tab (audio) \

Medical Definition of tab

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